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Pieris Pharmaceuticals Signs Licensing Deal with Seattle Genetics for $1.2 Billion in Upside Potential

Collaboration on 3 immuno-oncology programs

Last week, we highlighted Seattle Genetics’ (SGEN) announced acquisition of Cascade Therapeutics (CASC). The company continues to effectively expand its therapeutic pipeline with the announcement today of a collaboration and license agreement with Pieris Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PIRS) with the goal of developing multiple targeted bispecific immuno-oncology treatments for solid tumors and blood cancers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics will pay Pieris a $30 million upfront fee, tiered royalties on net sales up to low double-digits, and up to $1.2 billion in total success-based payments to Pieris across three product candidates. The companies will pursue multiple Antibody-Anticalin fusion proteins during the research phase, and Seattle Genetics has the option to select up to three therapeutic programs for further development. Prior to the initiation of a pivotal trial, Pieris may opt into global co-development and US commercialization of the second program and share in global costs and profits on a 50/50 basis. Seattle Genetics will solely develop, fund and commercialize the other two programs.

The deal is logical for Seattle Genetics, given its expertise in the field of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Seattle Genetics has a substantial portfolio of cancer targets and tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies from which programs will be selected for the collaboration.

Pieris’ Anticalin-branded proteins are engineered versions of the body’s natural lipocalins, which are low-molecular weight human proteins typically found in blood plasma and other body fluids that naturally bind, store and transport a wide spectrum of molecules. The defining attributes of the 12-member human lipocalin class are a four-loop variable region and a rigidly conserved beta-barrel backbone, which, together, form a pliable cup-like binding pocket. The diversity of amino acids contained in these four loops has yielded a drug class that:

Source: Pieris Pharmaceuticals

Pieris was the first company to bring a tumor-targeted costimulatory bispecific to patients with PRS-343, and we are looking forward to broadening our bispecific pipeline through this alliance. Seattle Genetics is a compelling partner for Pieris with a long-standing commitment to oncology. The collaboration combines the excellent protein engineering and translational capabilities of both companies, utilizing Seattle Genetics’ tumor-targeted monoclonal antibodies and Pieris’ Anticalin proteins to create novel bispecifics. This is our third significant alliance since January 2017 and is in alignment with our goal to create a respiratory- and oncology-focused commercial company.

– Stephen S. Yoder, President and CEO of Pieris.

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